This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a couple of good OHL games, featuring a lot of prospects who are on the NHL radar. Saturday Night I was in Barrie to see the Colts take on the Erie Otters in a game they would go on to win 7-4 in a bit of a run and gun type game. The following afternoon I was in Mississauga for a matinee between the Majors and the London Knights, which was a much more tightly contested game that resulted in London edging the hometown Majors by a 3-2 score. With a lot of highly touted players on display, I’ll give you some insight on what I saw from them this weekend. Here’s the boxscore link for anyone interested. http://www.ontariohockeyleague.com/stats/game-summary.php?game_id=16058
RD David Shields | 1991 | 6’3” | 215lbs | 9GP 1G 1A 2P -13 4PIM
NHL: 2009 BUF (6/168)
Shields is a hulking defenseman who is extremely raw at this point. While he does have some tools to play at the next level, Shields still struggles with the pace of the OHL and was having problems with his positioning on the ice, and in turn was not able to contain the speed of Barrie’s forwards. At this point, he will really need to work on his skating and his defensive zone play if he wants to move on to the next level. Shields had a goal on the night, and was a -4.
RD Tyler Hostetter | 1991| 5’11” | 195lbs | 7GP 0G 6A 6P -4 7PIM
NHL: 2009 FA PHI
After going undrafted this summer, the Pennsylvania native signed a contract with the Philadelphia Flyers during the free agent window this summer. Hostetter has decent poise with the puck and does have some offensive potential, but being a bit undersized and a fairly average skater will greatly reduce his NHL potential. Hostetter had one assist, and was even in the game.
LC Andrew Yogan | 1991L | 6’3” | 200lbs | 9GP 5G 2A 7P -10 2PIM
NHL: 2010 Eligible
Yogan is a player that has always been a bit of a project, and will likely become an NHL team’s project next summer. He’s a very good skater for his size, and has solid breakaway speed. He’s not overly physical, but he competes hard for pucks in the corners as well. Yogan has a decent set of hands and a pretty good shot, but he seems to miss out on a lot of opportunities. His main problem is that he doesn’t have a great mind for the game. There are a lot of times where his hockey sense seems to be lacking, and causes him to make the wrong play. Either way, his high end potential will likely entice a team to snatch him up in the top three rounds next June, but he’s definitely a boom or bust type player at this point. Yogan was held off the score-sheet and was a -2.
LC Greg McKegg | 1992 | 6’0” | 190lbs | 9GP 3G 4A 7P -6 6PIM
NHL: 2010 Eligible
Many consider McKegg’s OHL career to be a disappointment thus far, and there is definitely a lot of merit to that statement. However, after struggling to adapt last year, there are signs that McKegg is really starting to come around as a player, however. While he certainly is not flashy, he’s a pretty effective player. He’s an average skater, with above average acceleration and good offensive instincts. He’s also pretty effective in his own end, and is a fairly solid penalty killer. At this point, I would say McKegg is a raw version of Peter Holland and has the potential to be a solid NHL forward in a few years after some continued development. McKegg picked up an assist in the game and was a -1.
LW David Broll | 1993 | 6’1” | 225lbs | 9GP 2G 4A 6P -4 4PIM
NHL: 2011 Eligible
One of the surprises from the 93 crop has definitely been David Broll. After getting some quality top six ice-time, Broll has definitely shown that he has the ability to play a regular shift in the OHL at 16 tihs season. His skating definitely needs work right now, although he does have decent speed once he gets going, but there is a lot to like about his game. He competes hard and has some talent to boot. If he can continue to work on his feet, Broll could get some first round consideration in 2011. Broll got a bit of a weak goal and was a -2 in the game.
LC Alexander Burmistrov | 1991L | 6’0” | 170lbs | 10GP 7G 10A 17P +1 10PIM
NHL: 2010 Eligible
Barrie’s first round import pick has been nothing short of spectacular in his brief OHL stint thus far. Burmistrov has high end offensive skill and a great release on his shot, clearly his two main assets as a player. He scored two very nice goals in the game, and could have had a couple others as well. His skating is not great for being a bit undersized, which will be a point of emphasis, but his willingness to compete and his offensive ability is definitely an attractive package. It’s hard to see where Burmistrov might end up going in 2010 as consistency issues have also plagued him a bit thus far, but he’s likely a 20-40 guy at this point. Burmistrov also added an assist in the game and was a +4.
LC Luke Pither | 1989 | 6’0” | 194lbs | 9GP 9G 6A 15P +3 12PIM
NHL: Free Agent
After scoring 8 goals in the first three games, Pither has scored just 1 over his past 6. A lot of people will look at his gaudy statistics and wonder why an NHL team hasn’t picked him up yet, but there is a good reason behind it. While Pither has the ability to make plays if he has time and space, he’s easily neutralized by any body contact. For this reason, Pither might have a tough time even sticking in the AHL, yet alone the NHL at some point. He was held off the score sheet in this game and was even.
RC Alex Hutchings | 1990L | 5’10” | 179lbs | 10GP 6G 7A 13P +5 4PIM
NHL: 2009 TB (4/93)
Hutchings is a player that should have elevated his game this year, but hasn’t been able to do so at this point. While he does have great speed and the ability to make spectacular plays out of nothing, the inconsistency in his game is very frustrating to watch. After this year, Hutchings should be able to play his way into a two way contract, but he’ll need to really lift his game in Norfolk. Hutchings had a goal and an assist and was a +2.
LC Michael Sgarbossa | 1992 | 5’11” | 165lbs | 10GP 5G 7A 12P -3 10PIM
NHL: 2010 Eligible
One of the real surprises in the OHL last year with 43 points as a rookie, there is a lot of intrigue around the Campbellville native this year. Playing a limited role given the amount of forward depth in Barrie will likely hurt his draft stock a bit, but there’s still a lot to like. He’s a bit undersized, but he does have a lot of offensive ability. He’s a good finisher in tight and sees the ice pretty well, but most of all, he’s got some grit to his game and is not afraid to get involved physically. At this point, he will likely be a real solid selection in the middle rounds, and could realistically go anywhere from the mid second to the fourth round. He had a big game with 2 goals and 2 assists, being named the first star.
LW Kyle Clifford | 1991 | 6’1” | 200lbs | 6GP 3G 2A 5P +2 16PIM
NHL: 2009 LA (2/35)
Clifford might have shocked some people being taken at the top of the second last year, but while he doesn’t have high end offensive potential, he will still be a very effective guy that can play on either the second or third line on an NHL team. While Clifford doesn’t have overwhelming size for the style of game he plays, he competes hard and finishes checks effectively and makes an impact on the game that way. Don’t be surprised to see him earn a spot on the Canadian World Junior team this year for his gritty style of play. He had an assist in the game and was even.
RC Ryan Strome | 1993| 5’11” | 160lbs | 10GP 0G 0A 0P -3 15PIM
NHL: 2011 Eligible
It’s hard to fault Strome’s lack of production so far this year, as the 16 year old forward barely sees the ice as a result of being a young player in Barrie’s dynamic offense. However, the Colts first round pick in 2009 should be ready for a breakout season next year when his role increases drastically as a result of the impending losses to the Colts roster. Strome still needs to fill out, but he’s a very crafty offensive player. He does a good job of controlling the pace when he has the puck and makes very smart decisions. He has the ability to make the players around him better, and he will definitely be on the NHL radar next year.
LW Stefan Della Rovere | 1990 | 5’11” | 200lbs | 8GP 0G 3A 3P E 10PIM
NHL: 2008 WAS (7/204)
Barrie’s 19 year old captain has really struggled so far this year, and has been guilty of trying to do to much on the ice. In order for Della Rovere to be a successful player, he has to stick to his crash and bang game where he plays on the edge, however this season he’s been trying to hard to be the offensive player that he really isn’t. He’s also been struggling to contain his emotions, and he’s starting to get into some bad habits in that regard. His spot on the U-20 team could be in jeopardy right now, and he’ll really need to step up his game in the next month if he wants to get another shot in Saskatoon. He had one assist and was a -1 in the game.
RD Ryan O’Connor | 1992 | 5’8” | 175lbs | 10GP 2G 7A 9P +2 13PIM
NHL: 2010 Eligible
There are a lot of comparisons between Ellis and O’Connor, as they are both of similar stature and play similar games, but the reality is that O’Connor is still quite a bit behind Ellis at this point. He’s a smart defenseman with good up ice vision and solid poise, but he still struggles to overcome his size deficiencies in his own end when he has to contain opposing forwards. He does have some pro upside, and should be drafted based on that, but he’s going to be fighting an uphill battle to establish himself as an NHL player down the road. The Hamilton native was held off the score sheet in this game and was an even.
LW Josh Brittain | 1990 | 6’4” | 217lbs | 9GP 3G 5A 8P -1 19PIM
NHL: 2008 ANA (3/71)
Arguably one of the most frustrating players to watch in the OHL, Brittain is the definition of a prospect enigma. Blessed with a great package of size and skill, he has the potential to be one of the most dominating forwards in the league, but is plagued by inconsistency. On this night, he had one of those dominating games where he had a goal and two assists in addition to being a +4. Next year Brittain will surely crack the AHL, but he needs to get some more jam into his game if he wants to avoid being the next Anthony Stewart.
RC Taylor Carnevale | 1991 | 5’11” | 186lbs | 10GP 6G 7A 13P +3 4PIM
NHL: 2010 Eligible
After being passed over in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft where some thought he might be a late round pick, Carnevale will got a lot of draft consideration this year. A favourite of head coach Marty Williamson, Carnevale sees a lot of ice time in almost every situation and has made the most of it so far, scoring at a point per game clip this year. While he doesn’t really have any spectacular qualities, he’s developed into a pretty solid player and should be worth a late round pick this year.
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Tags: Alex Hutchings, Alexander Burmistrov, Andrew Yogan, David Broll, David Shields, Greg McKegg, Josh Brittain, Kyle Clifford, Luke Pither, Michael Sgarbossa, Ryan O'Connor, Ryan Strome, Stefan Della Rovere, Taylor Carnevale, Tyler Hostetter